Turkey for Thanksgiving
(or: La Turchia per il Giorno di Ringraziamento … which would also be Turkey for Thanksgiving. I’ll give you a hint … one is the food, and one is the country.)
Last Thanksgiving we went to Istanbul, Turkey (not Constantinople) with some friends of ours from Rome. We may not have had traditional Turkey – but we certainly stuffed ourselves with delicious food!
Turkey was actually one of my favorite places that we visited. It was different, and with so much to see! One of the first things we checked out was the huge Topkapi Palace complex – complete with a harem that would have been full of ladies hoping to win the Sultan’s favor.
Before it became a museum or a mosque, the original sixth-century Hagia Sophia was the world’s largest church until St. Peter’s was built a millennia later. It looks like a mish-mosh of subsequent constructions on the outside, but the inside is quite overwhelming. Full of lights and arabic designs.
The famous Blue Mosque (the seventeenth-century Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I) is next door. It is called the Blue Mosque because of its interior tiles, mostly on the upper level.
The Blue Mosque was also amazing inside – patterned carpet, amazingly tiled ceiling and circular chandeliers with many lights. And huge …
With so much walking, you have to have a little sweet refreshment too …
Our next stop, to escape a damp afternoon was to Yerebatan Sarnici, or Basilica Cisterns, which once supplied the water for Topkapi Palace. The lighting was really amazing.
Another gorgeous mosque lit up in the evening. Every time we drove by the water, we could see Mosques dotting the hillsides – which made for an unusual and beautiful view of the horizon.
How amazing are these Turkish lamps? I *loved* them! I wish I had had a reason to own some. :)
Of course, we had to hit up the major markets in town. Selling leather, jewelry, rugs, clothing, purses, etc … and with many loud salesman, it was a bit much for Ryan and I. But it certainly was an experience.